Upgrades to US public train services in the Northeast Corridor (NEC) have been given the government green light. This much needed redevelopment of the heavily populated services is set to change the travelling process for commuters in the New York City, New Jersey and Trenton areas.
The announcement was made by US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood last week on behalf of the federal Department of Transportation, offering government backing in the form of $745 million in funding.
The NEC is the most heavily used rail service in the country, and runs from Boston to Washington DC. Acela Express trains run the high speed line, which has traditionally been, somewhat inconveniently, shared with commercial trains. Due to this factor, speeds have been limited to approximately 109 km/h, with varying stretches reaching approximately 240 km/h.
Almost $8 billion of government funding was awarded back in 2009 as apart of a stimulus package and a way to further develop communications through the states.
In this latest redevelopment, the focus of the funding has been channelled into the New York area in order to alleviate clogged up transport. Tracks and electrical systems linking Trenton, New Jersey and New York City have been awarded the majority of the funding, with $449.94 million appointed. This development is particularly important as it will enable the high speed trains to reach a much higher 257 km/h in certain stretches, with a view to move even faster.
Construction on segments of the track will begin in September next year and is predicted stimulate the economy. Not only is the work estimated to generate approximately 12,000 jobs, but due to the project’s foundation of ‘Buy America’ requirements, stimulus of local supplies will be enabled.
A further $294.78 million has been dedicated to the overall improvement of Manhattan trains, to not only alleviate commuter strain, but to promote public transport as a safe, energy efficient way to travel.
The plans are somewhat open-ended with a view to further enhance the rail systems, reconnecting the country and stimulating economical growth.
It is incredibly important that the US give priority to construction and infrastructure initiatives. As proven in Australia, a reliance on a booming industry has been one of the main catalysts (along with strong government stimulus) for our safe passage through the global financial crisis which devastated the US.
The redevelopment of these train lines solves so many issues in the one project it is a positive reassurance in the possibilities of government initiatives. Jobs are created boosting the industry; national resources are stimulated due to purchase of local supplies, pollution is cut due to a reliance on public transport and commuter satisfaction is raised.
With the development of initiatives of this nature the expected September quarter is sure to be as strong as expected.